Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welcome the New Year and Broaden Your Mind?

The expression “travel broadens the mind” is well travelled, but how often do we embrace it. With New Years Eve fast approaching many will be thinking of what their family’s plans will be. Why not welcome the New Year and broaden the mind? If like many others you wish to enjoy a warmer New Years Eve period then look no further than Barcelona for your all your festive needs. Barcelona is home to many different cultures and can offer something for all through out the New Year period. Below are some examples of how to best celebrate in Barcelona.

The tradition embraced by many Spanish and Catalan inhabitants is a family meal on New Years Eve. This can happen in the home or many of the restaurants around the city which creates a great friendly atmosphere where ever you are. Regardless of where you eat in Barcelona at midnight, you will find all the inhabitants and tourists pour onto the street and welcome the New Year.

Why not try something new and embrace the Spanish dance culture by showing your salsa or flamenco skills off in many of the street parties. These can be found in Plaza Catalunya or Las Ramblas and are always packed with locals. The unique Mediterranean atmosphere will ignite any dwindling New Years spirit with its infectious laid back attitude, sangria and flowing tapas.

Barcelona offers so much to all that visit it and all it asks in return is that you enjoy yourself. If you would like to experience something new then a Barcelona New Years Eve is for you. Treat your family and meet the New Year by broadening your mind to a different culture and way of celebrating.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Barcelona 3D Video

I have just watched’s recently launched 3D video featuring the city of Barcelona. It provides a new and innovative take on the traditional travel guide and a fresh and exciting way of planning your trip to Barcelona.
You area able to experience the city like never before. This new way of exploring Barcelona enabled me to get a real feel for the city, the sights, the size and the sounds. A great way to see the real Barcelona come to life before your eyes rather than struggling to imagine it through the more conventional guide book.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tibidabo in Barcelona

This Magic Mountain can be seen from many different view points in the city of Barcelona and looks particularly striking at night when it is lit up and shines like gold. The Mountain of Tibidabo is 512 metres in altitude and is the highest point of the Collserola hills. Up until recently the amusement park there was in disarray but has recently been restored by the Generalitat of Catalunya. Famous for its hall of mirrors, it’s old charm and the fact that it was created 100 years ago, Tibidabo amusement park now has new attractions such as; the Plane, the Carrousel, the Automata Museum, the Talaia, the Panoramic and three children's rides Les Llaunes, Pony Rodeo and Río Grande.

There is also a 12minute film, subtitled in Spanish and English in the Cel building which tracks the history of Tibidabo over the years starting from the 1920’s to the present day. It primarily celebrates the 100th anniversary of Tibidabo and shows its close links to the history of Barcelona. The amusement park dates back to 1899, to the founding of the “Tibidabo Company” by the pharmaceutical pioneer Salvador Andreu. One of his aims was for people to have somewhere in the city where they could come and relax and thus created this special recreational area on the hilltop.

After leaving your Barcelona hotel or Barcelona apartment, make your way over to Tibidabo by train (L7) to “Av Tibidabo”, then take the funicular, Tramvia Blau or Tibidabo Bus up to the top. You can also catch the Tibibus from Plaça Catalunya, which runs from 10:30 everyday. The Blue Tram and the Funicular were inaugurated on 29th Oct 1901, and shortly afterwards the first attractions were installed on Tibidabo. The park still conserves some of the most significant ones that have filled it during its hundred years of existence: for example, the Castle of Terror and the Big Dipper. One of its most unusual items is the aeroplane, which dates from 1928 and is a replica of the model that made the first flight between Barcelona and Madrid.

If you want to see a bit more than just the amusement park, Tibidabo is home to other interesting sites such as The Fabra Observatory and the Experimental Physics Museum. As well as this, the two buildings erected between 1901 and 1905: the first by Camil Fabra, the Marquis of Alella, who built the astronomical observatory which bears his name, designed by Josep Domènech i Estapà, and the latter, nearby, in 1905, built by Ferran Alsina; the museum of experimental physics named “La Mentora”, which, due to the great interest of its collection of scientific apparatus of the time, has been conserved to the present day. Finally, in 1908 the slopes of the mountain were converted into a municipal park and it is lovely to take a walk here and leisurely make your way back to your Barcelona accommodation.

Christmas in Barcelona

Christmas time in Barcelona is to say the least, very special. This is a time for family, friends and fun, and whether you’re young or old, there is something for everyone to do here. It is important to have things to do at Christmas time because for many of us who have to spend copious amounts of time with family, (namely really old relatives or really young annoying cousins), the festive period can be a bit boring or trying, and thus it’s a good idea to plan ahead a bit in advance. This includes getting your flights and Barcelona apartment or Barcelona hotel sorted!

Then relax in your accommodation in Barcelona and put your Tio Nadal (Christmas Log) on the ground. This little chappy is the Catalan’s answer to Father Christmas and is a small figure with eyes, a nose and mouth. This log has the strange and magical ability to poo delicious treats such as sweets, nuts and torrons. Just like children believe Father Christmas is the one who brings all their presents on Christmas Eve, Caca Tió (the pooping log) brings the childrens’ presents too. When the children have sung the song to Caga Tió, (Caga Tió, almonds and turron, if you don’t poo sardines that are too salty or poo turrones that are the yummiest, Caga Tió, almonds and turron, if you don’t want to poo, I’ll hit you with the stick!) and hit Caga Tió with the stick, they lift up his cloak and underneath a heap of goodies is revealed. However, when the children find out that it is mummy and daddy who hide the sweets under Caga Tió’s cloak just before they sing the song, it is a sad day for all.

Make sure you stick around in Barcelona for 6th January. This special date is something that you should not miss, as it is the night of the Three Wise Men. This night is the night of presents and there are many parades with camels and trucks full of presents through the streets of Barcelona. The children of the city believe this is a unique event and thus every effort is made to pretend that it is only happening in Barcelona. The shops stay open until 12pm for parents to do last minute present shopping, and toddlers are weened off their dummies because they collectively give their dummies to the Three Wise Men.

Fireworks light up the sky, and at a certain time during the night, a special event takes place at the Town Hall, the mayor comes outside and presents the Three Wise Men with a huge magical golden key so that they can unlock all the doors of the city to bring the children their presents…

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Vintage Clothes in Barcelona!

Are you desperately trying to search for some cool vintage clothing in Barcelona? I’ve been living in this fantastic city since June, and I must admit, although I’ve wanted to, I haven’t done much exploring of the city’s second hand and vintage clothes, simply because there is so much to do… That is, until now. If you want to check out what Barcelona has on offer in the vintage section during your holiday, make sure you stay in the centre in a Barcelona hotel or Barcelona apartment.

To my joy and amazement, Barcelona is full of pretty little boutiques and funky, Aladdin’s cave-like vintage clothes and furniture shops, you’ve just got to know where to go and how to seek them out… I started off with a trip to Raval, Barcelona’s slightly dingy but cool part of town, where the coziest bars and friendliest restaurants can be found, not to mention the millions of beer sellers who line the streets shouting; “sexy beer” “cold beer”. Raval was stocked with little vintage clothes shops, as well as second hand shops which are my favourite.

Amongst these I found the shops with the most variety to be Gallery on Carrer Torrent d’Olla and Lailo on Riera Baixa – this shop was amazing, not only because it sells clothes from as far back as the 1900’s, but because the jewelry it sells there is truly beautiful. Retro City – a shop that can be found in Gracia and Raval is a good place if you are looking for one off pieces in order that no one can steal your look, and Le Swing near Pintor Fortuny focuses on clothes from the forties Fifties and Eighties.

As well as this, there are many chains of second hand/vintage shops in Barcelona, although one off shops outside the Gracia or Raval area are few and far between. One of these; Moda Amiga, works in conjunction with the Obra Social de Caixa de Catalunya and is special in that like a charity shop, it sells people’s unwanted items but you deposit your unwanted items in bright orange bins which are then sorted out and many will end up in the Moda Amiga shop. The shop in Carrer Sant Salvador in Gracia caught my eye as it is a lovely shop that immediately invites you in due to the bright colours and exciting display in the shop itself. The prices here are quite high, many of the unwanted clothes are designer and the look of the shop is definitely retro, but you’ve got to bear in mind that this shop is a job creation scheme. Cheaper versions of this shop such as the one in Cornellà or Mollins de Rei will not sell designer or retro gear.

So, now you’ve got your vintage clothes sorted, go book your accommodation in Barcelona!

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Dance Classes in Barcelona

I don’t know about you, but the end of summer and the start of the dreary, drab winter months makes me feel depressed, cold and chubby. Eating stogy meals, wearing thicker clothes and getting the metro everywhere has certainly made me feel that I am not getting enough exercise. Luckily, one of the most exhilarating forms of exercise – dancing, takes place in bars across Barcelona all year round, keeping the heat and passion of summer going. Make sure you get your Barcelona accommodation booked and make the most of the dance classes Barcelona has to offer.

Take salsa for example. I can’t think of a more passionate, hot and lively form of dancing and it is for this reason that I decided to do a bit of research into what is available in Barcelona. To get an idea of some of the best ones, you simply have to try. Some classes will be more suited to your style and tastes, but needless to say, you’re bound to have a good time once you get the hang of it. Barcelona has an abundance of salsa classes for you to try out if you are living here or if you are staying in a Barcelona apartment or Barcelona hotel as a holiday maker.

With this in mind, I also thought about learning a bit of burlesque dancing… sexy, lively and definitely good for toning up your muscles, Barcelona is suprising low in the number of burlesque dance classes available. On the 9th October 2008 at 10pm there is a show with Little Victor and Dj Nino plus British Burlesque star Miss Polly Rae at Apolo. Burlesque dancing is certainly becoming a major form of entertainment and exercise, if not in Barcelona, in Paris. With the increase in traffic to websites such as suicide girls, which promote the average woman as beautiful and the ideal, not skinny models with no figure, the “burlesque look” is definitely making a comeback.

Buenavista is a specialist Salsa and Latino dance school who can mould your unrestrained energy (that I know I have and its fighting to get out), into something more artistic. To begin the only thing necessary is to have rhythm and enthusiasm although later on you might decide to buy some dance shoes. There are a range of different classes from beginners to experts. Dancing is always done with partners although you can attend the classes by yourself as the dance school will pair you up if necessary. Classes are run on a ten weekly basis and cost €10 for one hour. (Salsa courses: C/Roselló 217, Tel: 932376528 / Salsa Clubs: